Reaching out and changing lives during challenging times

SEELEY LAKE – Amidst the uncertainty and challenges presented by statewide closures of schools and businesses, many residents are reaching out to others with encouragement and support. The ways to do that are endless and exemplify the words "Montanans taking care of Montanans."

Depending where you live in Seeley Lake, the encouragement for our local health care workers and other essential workers can be heard with howls at 8 p.m. every night. The Facebook group "HOWL for Seeley Lake" has videos posted that lift up those providing essential services and lets others know they are not alone during this time of physical distancing.

The Seeley-Swan Medical Center staff have appreciated the individuals and businesses providing meals and treats as a thank you for their commitment to the community through the coronavirus pandemic. Other essential workers including the local UPS drivers and staff at Cory's Valley Market have given a shout to those who have purchased them a meal.

"We have to stick together in these hard and trying times. It [fills my heart with love, joy, and compassion] to live in a community of loving caring people," said local Shelly Johnson. "There's a new way of doing things now. And hopefully we will all be better people when we come out of it. It's a new season - a season of learning new ways of doing things. We are in this together."

For some the generosity and kindness has been one-on-one.

Larry Murray, owner of Seeley Lake Flooring Company, was told by his landlord Rick Butler to not worry about paying rent for April.

Murray has rented from Butler for about a year and a half. Butler said he understands that things are hard right now for Murray because the work he does has been shut down. However, the COVID-19 shutdowns have not impacted him financially.

"I forgave the rent because he needed some help," said Butler.

"I was just blown away by it, kind of in shock," said Murray who pays $700 a month. "He's been a great landlord down to the littlest things. He is just an all-around a great guy."

Butler said depending on what the Governor advises during the coming weeks will depend on what he does for May.

"If I see hard times are still ahead for him, I'll forgive another month,' said Butler. "It's just what we are going through right now. A lot of people aren't impacted financially by it. We've got to look at these people that are."

Murray said he's never had a landlord offer him so much assistance.

"There are still people out there that need help and still people giving it," said Murray. "It can be simple things down to a smile, to keep everyone in the right frame of mind. A smile is free. We are all kind of a big community here and it really shows."


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